There is nothing quite as humbling or humiliating as being charged with a sex offense. The penalties, if convicted, for this type of crime are particularly harsh. There really is no classification of crimes that carries a more heavy stigma. A sex crime charge can cause you to lose friends, employment, and even the support of family. Sometimes, when charged with a sex offense, it can seem like your attorney is the only person on your side.

Illinois Sex Offenses and Penalties

There are several different offenses considered sex crimes under Illinois law.

Criminal Sexual Assault

Generally charged as a Class 1 felony, under Illinois law criminal sexual assault is one of the most serious of all sex offenses in the statutes. There are several different acts that could be classified as this offense.

You could be charged with criminal sexual assault if it’s believed that you committed an act of sexual penetration:

  1. With the use of force or threat of force,
  2. Knowing the victim is unable to understand the act or unable to give consent,
  3. Where the victim is a family member and under the age of 18, or
  4. Where you are over the age of 17 and the victim is between the ages of 13 and 18 and you are in a position of trust or authority over them.

As stated, this is generally considered a Class 1 felony which normally carries a potential 4 to 15 year prison sentence. However, there are circumstances which could raise this charge to a Class X felony. For instance, if you have prior convictions for sex offenses you could face a mandatory minimum 30 year prison sentence or up to life in prison.

Ref: 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

Even more serious than criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault involves committing the crime described above where any of the following aggravating circumstances are present:

  1. You display, use, or threaten to use a dangerous weapon or firearm or leading the victim to believe you have and will use such a weapon,
  2. You cause bodily harm to the alleged victim,
  3. You act in a manner that threatens or endangers the life of the victim or another person,
  4. You commit the offense during the commission or attempted commission of another felony,
  5. The alleged victim is over the age of 60 or physically handicapped,
  6. The act is committed after you deliver a controlled substance to the victim without their consent or by threat or deception,
  7. You are armed with a gun or discharge a gun or discharge a weapon injuring someone o cause great bodily harm,
  8. The victim is under the age of 9,
  9. The victim is between the ages of 9 and 13 and force or threat of force is used, or
  10. The victim is profoundly or severely mentally disabled.

An aggravated criminal sexual assault offense is a Class X felony under Illinois law and the sentence you face depends largely on the facts of the case and your criminal history.  In some cases, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence as well as a maximum life sentence.

 Ref: 720 ILCS 5/11-1.30

Sex Crimes Against Children

There are several different sex offenses that are specific to children. These carry the harshest stigma of all and are quite complex. They include:

  • Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child
  • Criminal Sexual Abuse
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse
  • Indecent Solicitation of a Child
  • Solicitation to Meet a Child

The specifics of these offenses vary greatly and carry very serious penalties. Depending on the facts of your case, you could face up to a Class X Felony for these charges and up to a life sentence. Discussing the specifics of your case with a local criminal defense attorney is the best way to know for certain what you are up against.

Public Indecency

Public Indecency is one of the more frequently seen sex charges. And although this crime isn’t considered to be as serious as a sexual assault, the penalties are still quite serious indeed. If you are over the age of 17 and accused of any of the following in public, you could be facing up to a Class 4 felony:

  1. An act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct,
  2. A lewd exposure of the body done with intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires

It is certainly possible to be charged with public indecency in Illinois where the exposure was accidental or incidental, and in no way should qualify as a sex offense.

If this is a first such charge, you will face Class A misdemeanor charges, which typically carry up to 1 year in jail. If however you have been convicted of this offense before, you will be charged with a Class 4 felony and up to 3 years in prison.

Ref: 720 ILCS 5/11-9

These crimes and several others are considered registerable sex offenses under Illinois law. A criminal defense lawyer can help you determine and explore your options, to protect your rights and freedom under the law. Contact us for a legal defense consultation.